General Anthropology Division
Oral Presentation Session
Cuba is internationally known for its disaster and risk management policies. Nevertheless, in recent years, the country has suffered the severe impacts of powerful hurricanes (Sandy in 2012, Matthew in 2016, and Irma in 2017), which forced the relocation of certain communities. Recognizing the threat of climate change for the island, Cubans approved in 2018 a new constitution that included a provision to “promote the conservation of the environment and the fight against climate change, which threatens the survival of the human species”. In this setting, this paper will discuss post-disaster recovery, highlighting narratives related to the loss of familiar landscape features and changes in rural livelihoods, namely in the Cuban Oriente after Hurricane Matthew. Drawing on the notion of moral economy, referring here to the circulation of values and affects as they relate to resources in social space, the paper explores how the loss of quotidian habits, which shaped a sense of belonging for coastal and farming communities, are tied to larger hopes and frustrations in the context of Cuba’s economic situation. People’s narratives about the slow-onset loss of a sense of place and ways of making a living—their daily lucha—are examined as expressions of topalgia, actual and anticipated.